Exam done!

Finally, Cryptographic Mathematics has been completed yesterday afternoon by yours truly.

GCD, Carmicheal, Perfect numbers, Primes, DSA algorithms, Elliptic Curves, mod, y^x=A mod P, and other such genuinely interesting number manipulations are now all understood and examined. 150 minutes of open-book exam. Odd subject that if one went in without understanding the subject matter one may as well be looking into a field of thistles..

At least it’s over and done with and now the concentration is on the Thesis completion and the demonstration of said thesis afterwards. It’ll be nice to get the MEng after the name, and I’ll finally be an engineer :D

My thanks go to my classmate study group – they’ve been absolutely fantastic about the study and help before the exam, with the preparation and methods of how to do the exam. Seriously guys – you are good!

Hmmm. Me, to do a PhD?

It appears that I’m being invited to have a chat with a group of lecturers in UL about pursuing a part-time PhD, most likely in the cloud computing sector. It would be a great opportunity I think, as long as the funding would work out and that I could attend a few conferences.

Imagine me as Dr Cathal, doctor of clouds ;)


It’s that time of the semester again when the assignments pile up (20%+10% for wk10, 10% for wk 11 and 2x 40% for wk 12) as well as the continuation of the thesis work, as well as just making sure that I’m on top of the standard study for the end of semester exams. Not the easiest in its own right – it’s why it is a Masters I suppose.

Add to that the 40 hours a week for the usual firefighting and the project work for my place of employment, and I have a lack of time to do anything..

With the good weather recently, I took a few hours to get out and take advantage of the exceptional seeing conditions to get some video captures of Mars and Saturn.  I went through three batteries in the 600D on Tuesday night on Jupiter and the moon through the 4″ achromat, then Mars and Saturn through the 8″ newt. I’m still learning how to post-process properly so these can be considered a work in progress. I’m still doing something wrong, but I’ll figure it out eventually (after the Masters is done!):








Mars at 12 arsec diameter:

I’m at about 350kms on the road bike – I’ve found that cycling is good for the sanity sometimes, to clear the head when it’s overloaded with stuff..

The MR2 should be back on the road this month for the summer, once I replace the tyre that was slashed and get it re-taxed. It’ll be good to get the wind in the hair again, but petrol currently at 1.68/litre will be curtailing my driving in it a bit!

Everything is gearing up for the end of semester exams, during the first two weeks in May. It’ll be good to be finished and back to having weekends, to pursue the thesis work and studying for the I-Grade exam in maths in August. September will be getting the cisco certifications that I’m looking for. That’ll make a difference for my career path :)

Results day

So, it’s been a pretty good day for me. The first semester’s results are out, and slightly better performing than expected. Two A2s, a B2, and a C2 along with one grade yet to clear due to illnes (I-grade). A good show considering I was down and out with a virus during the exams (and it’s still got me a bit wiped out and well down on power output when cycling..).

Update, after a busy busy time.

So, it’s November. Wow the time is flying! So much has happened. So little time to play with.

Masters: Week 10 has just ended. Loads of assignments to complete for the next fortnight, then study for the exams that will complete the 5 modules that will constitute the first semester of the Masters of Engineering in “Information and Network Security” that I am currently pursuing in UL. It’s been good so far to get back to UL as a student but this time with an appetite for success that wasn’t really there in the past (for whatever reasons..). There’s a desire now to get through this with good results. I like the subjects, I’ve got a good crew of classmates and the craic is good enough. It’s tough for sure with time management being the hardest part so far. I have no spare time to relax this year. At all. It’s fun learning how to use Maple, MSProject and things like that. Weird having to buy textbooks again, but good to have them to refer to anyway.

Work: I’ve completed probation, and am now a fully fledged employee. The shift is not the easiest to manage but it’s not that bad – I still get to sleep at a somewhat sane time and it’s consistent at least. Some shifts of course I’m up the walls and I mightn’t get back to the house till gone half 2 or 3 o’clock with lectures at 9 or 10 in the morning and another night’s work the following night. Learning a lot, still got so much to learn. Trying not to forget what I learned at the start – that’s kinda hard.

Car: The Audi is paid off. Finally. It’s now just a car, with no intention from me of making it any better. It’s got too much mileage to consider tarting it up any bit, and it’s a useful tool to use instead of a pursuit in its own right. I don’t have the time to do anything really useful to it other than put diesel in every month or so. At least my driving mileage has severely decreased now that I’m back in Limerick full time. Due another tyre change soon, may but top-tier all-season tyres on it to safeguard me through the winter.

Sport: Very little time to get out on the Reign for a cycle. :( No time in a boat in quite a while – no free weekend gets in the way of that, but that is what I’ve signed up for! Put a deposit down for a good road bike for the Bike-to-Work scheme – a 2011 Trek Madone 4.5, secondhand, with uprated lighter Mavic wheels with the blade spokes. I’ll upgrade a few bits and pieces on that bike, including as good tyres as I can get. I will cycle to work on it at least once ;) and I’ll have to cycle home for lunch to get the car to drive home when the shift is over. It’s not good to be physically pumped at 2am trying to get to sleep. It’ll be useful to have that bike for the cycle around northwest France next summer just before Dave’s french wedding.

Other stuff: 5 years since fun and games, so that’s an interesting milestone passed. Nothing else of note there that I’ll put down here ;)

Astro: been out maybe 3 times since the start of the summer. Been pretty crap for astronomers in Ireland recently – and pretty crap for someone that works evenings and has college during the day! Starting to see the utility of a good quality grab and go setup that will give good views without needing to cooldown – maybe a 100mm short refractor on an alt-az mount?

Sarah: She passed her Viva with flying colours, a very positive impression from the examiners and a trivially small number of corrections before final submission of the thesis document. Her hard work and perseverance (and slight craziness) paid off big time. She’ll get the hood in January.